In every company, there is the face of the organization and there are those who keep the body and brain operating smoothly and efficiently. Our annual Adweek 50 honors those behind-the-scenes luminaries in marketing, media and tech, offering them much-deserved recognition on their paths toward becoming household names.
This year’s honorees brought their organizations safely to the other side of an ongoing pandemic, and despite such difficult circumstances, found opportunities to achieve personal and organizational excellence. That includes Betsy Wilson, vp of digital marketing and brand management at 114-year-old UPS, who saw an opportunity to partner with small minority-owned businesses during the pandemic; NBCUniversal’s ad sales chiefs Mark Marshall, Laura Molen and Krishan Bhatia, who saw their strongest upfront ever in 2021 and are now turning eagerly toward a record-breaking Super Bowl; Ryan Ford, president and CCO of full-service agency Cashmere, who took his expertise in culture and became Taco Bell’s first-ever culture agency of record in August; and Condé Nast CMO Deirdre Findlay, who kept traffic up through the pandemic and helped the publisher grow total subscriptions 16% year over year.
Jason Kahner, Global President, health and wellness, Grey
Health care may not have been seen as the coolest category before the Covid-19 pandemic, but a global crisis brought its crucial role to the forefront. Kahner saw that firsthand when Grey's Health and Wellness created Pfizer's "Science Will Win" campaign. What started as a corporate reputation campaign became a poignant rallying cry about the power of science to improve people's lives. The tagline was the most used hashtag during the pandemic and was referenced by world leaders. Under Kahner's leadership, Grey's Health and Wellness became WPP's fastest growing health company, winning 14 new clients in 2020-including Johnson & Johnson's Covid vaccine assignment-and six in 2021. "Our biggest challenge is also my biggest source of pride: our ability to build an amazing team of people virtually around the world; craft impactful and important work in the health and wellness space; and deliver unprecedentedly high double-digit growth," he says. -Brittaney Kiefer
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